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Expert opinion on the Packaging Ordinance: Special regulations for plastics do not comply with EU law

European flags in front of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

Expert opinion on the Packaging Ordinance: Special regulations for plastics do not comply with EU law.

This is the conclusion of an expert opinion prepared by the Berlin office of the international commercial law firm Dentons on behalf of the European umbrella organisation of the plastics processing industry European Plastic Converters (EuPC), the Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK) and its French counterpart Elipso. As the associations explained in a joint statement, according to the expert opinion, regulations that, for example, exclusively ban plastic packaging, require reuse or exclude fibre-based composite packaging from recycling quotas are very likely to violate the principle of equal treatment, as there were no objective reasons for such unequal treatment. Furthermore the legal experts would see procedural violations, as the Parliament and Council had not taken all relevant factors into account in their proposals. According to the information provided, the legal report also analysed the bans in Annex V of the PPWR: the planned bans on plastic film for a six-pack of bottles or plastic packaging for untreated fruit and vegetables, for example, are also incompatible with EU law in the opinion of the legal experts.
 
In a joint appeal, EuPC, IK and Elipso are therefore calling on the member states and the EU Parliament to remove the material-specific special regulations in the ongoing trialogue negotiations. This would create legal and planning certainty for companies. Such discrimination against plastic packaging was also counterproductive for the objectives of the PPWR, as it is highly likely to lead to ecological misdirection by replacing light and easily recyclable plastic packaging with heavier and less recyclable packaging materials. This would lead to an increase in packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions, according to EuPC, IK and Elipso.
 
Sources:

  • Elispo, EuPC, IK press release (15.2.2024)
  • Photo: © unsplash.com, Christian Lue

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